Learning to “live upside down”: Experiencing the true and false self in psychotherapy training

Swaby, H. (2020) Learning to “live upside down”: Experiencing the true and false self in psychotherapy training. Psychotherapy and Politics International, 18 (2). ISSN 1476-9263

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The emergence of the true self is often a significant part of training to become a psychotherapist. Yet the challenge this presents, particularly in relation to the movement between a true and false self has been largely unacknowledged. This study aimed to explore UK trainee psychotherapists’ first-hand experiences of this, to understand how the phenomenon is experienced, and to explore the impact on trainees’ development. Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with five trainee integrative psychotherapists who identified with this struggle. Interpretative phenomenological analysis illuminated two superordinate themes: The tensions of psychotherapy training and “dropping the shackles”: The journey to self-acceptance. Findings highlight the many challenges of the psychotherapy trainee, illustrating how a conflicting need to be ‘true’ alongside an impossible prospect of letting go of adaptations induces shame and judgments. Findings also highlighted the liberating processes of letting go of old constraints, through a journey of self-acceptance and awareness.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2020 Wiley. This is an author-produced version of a paper published in Psychotherapy and Politics International . Uploaded in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.
Divisions: School of Social Science
Depositing User: Helen Swaby
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2020 08:59
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2021 10:43
URI: https://bgro.repository.guildhe.ac.uk/id/eprint/720

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